The Observer (Kampala)

Uganda: Lubega Improves in World Rankings, Returns August

Ugandan boxer Joseph 'Fabulous Joey Vegas' Lubega has improved his world ranking by five places in the latest rankings, thanks to the prized fighter's consistency in the ring, writes Moses Mugalu.

Lubega, who successfully retained the World Boxing Council (WBC) International light heavyweight belt after a fourth round knockout victory over Egyptian Hany Atiyo on June 14 in Kampala, is rated tenth and thirty-third in the WBC and world rankings respectively. Before the first, his first WBC-I title defence, Lubega was rat- ed contender 15.

"I'm happy with my latest ranking; it gives me strength to work harder because my chances of getting a world title shot have become brighter," Lubega, who boasts of 16 wins in 23 professional fights, told The Observer in an interview on Saturday, June 29.

"Being among the top ten contenders means I can be picked any time for a title fight with a big pay day deal and that's my ultimate goal," the 31-year-old fighter added.

Briton Tony Bellow and former champion Chad Dawson are some of the top contenders for the WBC light heavyweight title. Haiti-born Canadian, Adonis Stevenson, who stopped Dawson in the first round in early June, is the current WBC light heavyweight champion while veteran US fighter Bernard Hopkins holds the IBF title.

Lubega has en- joyed a great revival span of his career, winning five consecutive bouts since October 2011. Along the way, he has picked two titles; he stopped Atiyo in the eleventh round on April 6, 2012 for the African Boxing Union (ABU) belt and five months later he claimed the WBC-I crown with a fourth round ko over Trinidad and Tobago's Kirt Sinnette.

According to his managers, Lubega is set to return in the ring next month in a tune-up bout against a yet-to-be (TBA) opponent. The fight is likely to happen in the US, given the financial struggles his managers endured in organizing the last fight against Atiyo at Kyadondo grounds.

Lubega says he hasn't completely broken off training; he jogs and goes to the gym twice a week as he awaits confirmation for the next fight.

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